Be All About Love
“Love one another as if your lives depended on it.” 1 Peter 1:22 (msg)
Yesterday my husband and I worked outside preparing a place for our new chicken coop. We cleared a spot at the edge of the yard that had previously been wild. I thought it was just woods and underbrush, but we discovered that it was primarily a patch of briars. Mean ones. I have the scratches to prove it.
Stone had a rock rake, and as he raked the briars and underbrush into a burn pile, my job was to clip the briars loose from the ground; otherwise they could not be raked. While doing this job, I was amazed at the range of the briars. They were a tangled mess. Almost impenetrable.
Several spiritual applications came to me as I was playing pioneer woman. At one point, I was reminded of my favorite poem by William Blake, called “The Garden of Love”:
I went to the Garden of Love,
And saw what I never had seen:
A chapel was built in the midst,
Where I used to play on the green.
And the gates of this Chapel were shut,
And “Thou shalt not” writ over the door;
So I turned to the Garden of Love,
That so many sweet flowers bore,
And I saw it was filled with graves,
And tomb-stones where flowers should be:
And priests in black gowns were walking their rounds,
And binding with briars my joys and desires.
If we think of the community of faith as a garden of love, the idea of briars choking out joy is pretty scary. Sadly, a lot of people experience this. Sometimes we get so caught up in doctrines and rules that we forget what the garden is for. Peter reminds us in the above verse that we’re supposed to be all about love.
FAITH STEP: What’s your contribution to the community of believers? Determine today to be a flower, not a briar, in the garden of God’s love.
Written by Gwen Ford Faulkenberry